Classical Best Versions

What Is The Very Best Version?

In a catalogue that lists over 200 recordings of Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons", and even 60 versions of Orff's "Carmina Burana", which is the very best?

With the help of Gramophone, Penguin Stereo Guide, BBC Music, and our own ears, we have put together the definitive guide to the popular classics.

Here are a selection of recommended recordings that should find a place in everyone's collection.

Displaying items 201 to 220 of 246

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Brahms: The Final Piano Pieces cover
add to cart $30.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
JOHANNES BRAHMS
Brahms: The Final Piano Pieces
Stephen Hough (piano)
[ Hyperion / CD - released 31/Jan/2020 ]
"'One of the finest accounts of Brahms's late piano works on record, one that stands head and shoulders above most contenders in an ever-growing catalogue." Gramophone Awards 2020 Short List - Instrumental
Mompou: Piano Works cover
add to cart $30.00 Low Stock
FEDERICO MOMPOU
Mompou: Piano Works
Stephen Hough (piano)
[ Hyperion / CD - released 19/Sep/2003 ]
1001 Classical recordings you must hear before you die (1901-1950) - Rosette (Highest Rating) Penguin Stereo Guide - GRAMOPHONE EDITOR'S CHOICE
Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No 1 & No 2 / Capriccio Brillant in B minor Op 22; Rondo Brillant in E flat major Op 29 ; etc (The Romantic Piano Concerto cover
add to cart $30.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
FELIX MENDELSSOHN
Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No 1 & No 2 / Capriccio Brillant in B minor Op 22; Rondo Brillant in E flat major Op 29 ; etc (The Romantic Piano Concerto
Stephen Hough (piano) City of Birmingham Symphony / Lawrence Foster
[ Hyperion Romantic Piano Concerto Vol 17 / CD - released 15/Apr/2003 ]
1001 Classical recordings to hear before you die (1801-1850) - 'The soft, stylish arpeggios that open the first work on the disc announce immediately that something special is on the way. Hough is now clearly first recommendation in the concertos'...
Saint-Saens: Piano Concertos Nos 1-5 / Africa Fantasie for piano and orchestra cover
add to cart $60.00 In Stock
CAMILLE SAINT-SAENS
Saint-Saens: Piano Concertos Nos 1-5 / Africa Fantasie for piano and orchestra
Stephen Hough (piano) / City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sakari Oramo
[ Hyperion Romantic Piano Concertos Vol 27 / 2 CD - released 16/Sep/2001 ]
1001 Classical recordings you must hear before you die (1851-1900) -- "This seems to me a spiffing set and pleasurable discoveries and rediscoveries await." (Gramophone)
Piano Concertos Nos 2 & 3 cover
add to cart $30.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
HUMMEL
Piano Concertos Nos 2 & 3
Stephen Hough (piano) / English Chamber Orchestra / Bryden Thomson
[ Chandos Classics / CD - released 10/May/2004 ]
"In Stephen Hough's virtuosic hands, the coruscating final coda of the A minor Concerto is one of the most exciting things I've heard for years. Bravo!" - Lionel Salter (Gramophone)
MARBECKS COLLECTABLE: Tavener: The Protecting Veil / Thrinos for solo cello (with Britten - Cello Suite No.3) cover
add to cart $35.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
JOHN TAVENER
MARBECKS COLLECTABLE: Tavener: The Protecting Veil / Thrinos for solo cello (with Britten - Cello Suite No.3)
Stephen Isserlis (cello) / London Symphony Orchestra, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
[ Virgin Classics / CD - released 10/Feb/1992 ]
"The Isserlis/Rozhdestvensky pioneering version of Tavener's Protecting Veil hardly needs any recommendation from me." (Gramophone)
Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jesus cover
add to cart $55.80 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
MESSIAEN
Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jesus
Steven Osborne (piano)
[ Hyperion / 2 CD - released 5/Oct/2002 ]
'Steven Osborn's performance is one of towering authority and technical achievement' - Editor's Choice (Gramophone Magazine) October 2002 'a performance of commanding virtuosity, deep poetry and ravishing colour' (Gramophone)
Phases - A Nonesuch Retrospective cover
add to cart $110.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
STEVE REICH
Phases - A Nonesuch Retrospective
Steve Reich and Musicians / Kronos Quartet / Theatre of Voices / Pat Metheny
[ Nonesuch / 5 CD Box Set - released 31/Oct/2006 ]
Pioneer of US minimalism Steve Reich is 70 this year and to celebrate Nonesuch has released a bargain-priced 5 CD set of his greatest works including definitive recordings of "Music for 18 Musicians", "Different Trains" and "Drumming".
Pictures at an Exhibition (piano version) [with piano pieces by Prokofiev] cover
add to cart $30.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
MUSSORGSKY
Pictures at an Exhibition (piano version) [with piano pieces by Prokofiev]
Steven Osborne (piano)
[ Hyperion / CD - released 1/Feb/2013 ]
GRAMOPHONE AWARD WINNER 2013: Instrumental
Symphony No.8 Symphony of a Thousand / Adagio from Symphony No.10 cover
add to cart $22.50 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
MAHLER
Symphony No.8 Symphony of a Thousand / Adagio from Symphony No.10
Studer-Blasi-Jo-Meier-Nagai-Lewis-Allen-Sotin / The Southend Boys' Choir. Philharmonia Chorus. Philharmonia Orchestra. Giuseppe Sinopoli
[ Double DG / 2 CD - released 28/Nov/2004 ]
"A ripely passionate account, recorded with a richness and body that outshines any digital rival. Sinopoli conveys a warmth of expression that brings joyful exuberance to the great outburst of the opening. It builds into one of the most thrilling...
Franck/Chausson: Symphonies cover
add to cart $37.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
Cesar FRANCK / Ernest CHAUSSON
Franck/Chausson: Symphonies
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Marek Janowski
[ Pentatone SACD / Hybrid SACD - released 13/Nov/2006 ]
"Best of all is the way Janowski responds to the variety of harmonic tension in both works: the more chromatic a chord, the more space he tends to give it without ever obstructing the flow." (BBC Music Orchestral Choice Jan 2007)
Haydn: Die Schopfung (The Creation) cover
add to cart $27.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
JOSEPH HAYDN
Haydn: Die Schopfung (The Creation)
Sunhae Im (soprano) Jan Kobow (tenor) Hanno Muller-Brachmann (bass-baritone) Christine Wehler (alto) / Cologne Vocal Ensemble / Spering
[ Naxos / 2 CD - released 25/May/2005 ]
"A brisk, well-sung performance of Haydn's late choral masterpiece" Editor's Choice Gramophone Magazine (June 2005)
Verdi: Requiem Mass / Operatic Choruses cover
add to cart $32.00 Low Stock
GIUSEPPE VERDI
Verdi: Requiem Mass / Operatic Choruses
Susan Dunn, Diane Curry, Jerry Hadley, Paul Plishka / Robert Shaw Chorale. Atlanta Symphony Orchestra / Robert Shaw
[ Telarc Classics / 2 CD Box Set - released 7/Mar/2004 ]
"...the many felicities of the performance, not least the electricity of the choral singing and the consistency of the solo singing, add up to an exceptionally satisfying reading." Three Stars Penguin Stereo Guide
Hummel: Mass, Op 111 in D / Mass Op 77 in B flat major cover
add to cart $30.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
HUMMEL
Hummel: Mass, Op 111 in D / Mass Op 77 in B flat major
Susan Gritton (soprano) / Collegium Musicum 90 / Richard Hickox
[ Chandos / CD - released 1/Nov/2002 ]
2003 Gramophone Magazine Award Finalist - Recording of the month - Gramophone (Dec 2002)
Handel: Theodora (Complete Oratorio) cover
add to cart $90.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
GEORG FRIDERIC HANDEL
Handel: Theodora (Complete Oratorio)
Susan Gritton, Susan Bickley, Robin Blaze, Paul Agnew / Gabrieli Consort, Paul McCreesh
[ Archiv / 3 CD Box Set - released 14/Aug/2000 ]
1001 Classical recordings to hear before you die (1700-1760) - 2001 GRAMOPHONE AWARD FINALIST - Baroque Vocal
Cantatas, Vol.27 (Nos 5, 80, 115) cover
add to cart $35.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
J.S. BACH
Cantatas, Vol.27 (Nos 5, 80, 115)
Susanne Ryden (soprano) Pascal Bertin (counter-tenor) Gerd Tark (tenor) Peter Kooij (bass) / Bach Collegium Japan / Masaaki Suzuki, director
[ BIS / CD - released 1/Mar/2005 ]
"If you've yet to sample the series, or are just collecting the highlights, this is definitely one to consider...this disc deserves to be the best selling of the cycle." (International Record Review June 2005)
Beethoven: Early Quartets, Op.18 cover
add to cart $45.00 Low Stock
LUDWIG van BEETHOVEN
Beethoven: Early Quartets, Op.18
Takacs Quartet
[ Decca Records / 2 CD - released 9/Mar/2004 ]
1001 Classical recordings to hear before you die (1761-1800) - "The Takács meet Beethoven the young Turk, bursting with ideas, and we are the better informed for listening in" - Editor's Choice Gramophone Magazine (April 2004)
Beethoven: Late Quartets Opus 95, 127, 130-133, 135 cover
add to cart $65.00 Low Stock
LUDWIG van BEETHOVEN
Beethoven: Late Quartets Opus 95, 127, 130-133, 135
Takacs Quartet
[ Decca Records / 3 CD Box Set - released 12/Dec/2004 ]
"Excellent recordings too: sonorous, and with well-judged sense of four-voices-in-one. It doesn't feel all risky to say that this is probably the finest modern set of these great quartets." (BBC)
Schubert: String Quartets Nos 13 'Rosamunde' & 14 "Death And The Maiden" cover
add to cart $30.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
FRANZ SCHUBERT
Schubert: String Quartets Nos 13 'Rosamunde' & 14 "Death And The Maiden"
Takacs Quartet
[ Hyperion / CD - released 2/Oct/2006 ]
"a sense of drama and tensile strength underlines everything, even a movement as luscious as the Andante of the Rosamunde Quartet..." Gramophone Editor's Choce Awards issue 2006
Shostakovich: Piano Quintet / String Quartet No. 2 cover
add to cart $30.00 Low Stock
DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH
Shostakovich: Piano Quintet / String Quartet No. 2
Takács Quartet, with Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
[ Hyperion / CD - released 25/Apr/2015 ]
"Right from the very first bar I felt that these were going to be fine performances of these two Shostakovich works. The first movement of Quartet No.2 is played with vigour and forward thrust." (Recording of the Month MusicWeb April 2015)